5 Tried and True Landscape Photography Tips used by the Pros

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Have you ever found yourself wondering how do the professionals (pros) consistently turn out amazing photos day after day, year after year and what are some of their secrets? So besides knowing their camera like their best friend, what are some of the things that the pros do? Here are some tried and true landscape photography tips used by the pros.

DesertStorm Landscape Photography Tips used by the Pros

1. Experimentation

Experimenting is one of the best ways to shake yourself up out of the doldrums and yes even pros use it to get their creative juices flowing.

Try photographing something totally outside your comfort zone or even a different subcategory within your preferred genre. If landscape photography is your thing, you are probably already a master of the golden hours (sunrise and sunset). So experimentation can start with shooting a nightscape or even a long exposure in the middle of the day.

Note: I would highly advise against experimenting at someone’s wedding!

Night Sky Landscape Photography Tips used by the Pros

How about introducing a human element into your landscape and allowing them to be a part of the story? Experimenting keeps you on the learning path and when you learn, you grow as a photographer. It is about challenging yourself to do something different and pushing your boundaries.

Landscape Model Landscape Photography Tips used by the Pros

2. Making it your own

Many places on your photography list have already been captured hundreds of times. That thought can make you throw your hands up in the air and decide you may as well just recreate it. Before you think of recreating, try to showcase it differently. What else can you do? Is there another foreground element you can add or take away? One of the things that make pro’s work stand out from the rest, is their perspective and ability to make a place seem like you are seeing it for the first time.

Maracas Bay, Trinidad - landscape photography tips from the pros

While it’s not always easy to create something unique and new, your originality is one of the things that will set you apart. Can you get a different angle, add or detract an element when composing, or shoot it differently (e.g. with light trails or multiple exposures)? How about getting off the trail and the popular view areas and charting your own course to find another perspective?

There is no problem in finding inspiration in someone else’s work. But keep in mind that you want your work to stand out, as your own.

Guardians - landscape photography tips from the pros

3. Tell a story

Someone said that “being a good photographer does not necessarily translate into being a good storyteller.” Being able to evoke the emotions of your audience should always be a goal, though. Keep in mind that the purpose of your photo story is to interest, instruct, or amuse your audience.

Decide how you want the image to affect them and then how to achieve that goal. Is your story going to be in black and white or infrared? Is it going to be realistic or abstract? Pros use different styles of photography to keep producing interesting stories consistently.

Boat Friends - landscape photography tips from pros

4. Less can be more

In landscape photography, being more selective with the views you present tells a more effective story, so pros understand the power of good composition (a vast topic all on its own). One of the rules of good composition is that your image should contain just enough detail. In landscape photography you do not have the luxury of physically moving things around, so you must arrange the elements of an image by changing your position. This also helps with finding the most flattering view, or one that tells a different story.

Ocean Sunrise landscape photography tips from pros

Choosing the important elements in your photo to highlight helps you decide what to include in the frame and what to leave out. Make your subject dominate by accentuating it with one or few related elements, remembering to declutter as much as you can. As a general rule, if an element in your image doesn’t enhance the subject, it may be detracting from it.

Lily Pond - landscape photography tips from pros

 5. Know your post-processing

Ideally, you want to get the shot right in-camera and eliminate or minimize your post-processing. With so many features and settings on DSLRs now, it is possible to produce the image you want. If this does not materialize, then you need the ability to do basic adjustments. These include changes to color and contrast, exposure adjustments, straightening, and cropping.

Check out these dPS articles for tips on processing:

Glass Bottomed Boat - landscape photography tips from pros

Pros know the importance of post-processing. That is one of the main reasons they shoot in RAW to capture all the uncompressed image data, which leads to higher quality images in the end.

Post-processing can also add that unique element of you. Decide if the shot you took is what you wanted to achieve or you can choose to adjust elements until you get the image you want to present. Digital photography has made it easier to post-process than the dark rooms of yesteryear but it also makes it easier to  go overboard easily. So determine your vision for the final image and learn to execute it properly so you produce an image that represents you.

South Beach - landscape photography tips from pros

Conclusion

These are just a few of the things to keep in the back of your mind when you are creating images. Staying consistent means staying creative or constantly challenging yourself to try something different or learn something new.

When you get to your location, think about how you can make the image your own. There is nothing more amazing than producing a piece that someone can identify as yours even before they confirm you did it. Share with us how else you stay consistent when shooting and any other landscape photography tips you have learned.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Nisha Ramroop is an I.T. chick and Project Manager with a passion for photography, currently living in the beautiful Trinidad & Tobago. She’s a published writer and photographer who spends most of her free time traveling and exploring. See more of her work at Nikophotography.

  • Michael

    Great images Nisha! I wish you posted the exposure
    setting and focal length for each image too. Looking at your photos, I guess
    you used gradient ND filters or a polarizing filter as your skies were
    darkened and much more saturated and defined. In addition, it looks like you
    did a lot of post-processing too. The photo within the tip #3 “Tell a
    story” looks more like a painting than a photo. I know that is your
    style and it is perfectly normal. However, I tend to more realistic style in
    my photography as my audience wouldn’t like too much saturation beyond the real
    life look and painting-like images. I guess everybody has a
    different perception of the world.

  • Niko Phôto

    Hey Michael, thanks for the feedback. Yes I do use either an ND or a Polarizer.
    I love contrasty photos, so my post-processing sometimes involves subtle HDR or Tonal Adjustments to get that “painting” effect. I don’t consider myself someone who post processes a lot, and interestingly enough the photo you pointed out (#3) had to actually be de-saturated since the sky was so incredibly blinding that day (Caribbean sunsets are a thing to behold, especially after the rain).
    Again, thanks again…cheers!

  • Swrit

    Truly some absolutely beautiful images to illustrate the advice. Indisputable. Thank you!

  • Niko Phôto

    Thanks much Swrit. Appreciate your support.

  • Raden Adams

    Another beautiful and informative read there, Nisha. You know, I don’t even have an ND or Polarizer filter and I know that either would be very useful for me at times. Take care and keep on wandering about.

  • evonne.guzman

    After 5 yrs I decided to abandon my office work and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started freelancing over internet, for a company I discovered online, several hours each day, and I earn much more than i did on my last job… My last month paycheck was for 9000 bucks… Awesome thing about this is that i have more free time for my loved ones… http://korta.nu/MDe

  • Niko Phôto

    Thanks Raden 😀

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